So much more than salad

April 20th, 2010 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

I love salads. My mom will proudly tell you that I would come home from school and beg for salad. I’m not picky about the type, I enjoy bean salads, green salads, grain salads and of course, fruit salads! 

These Elegant Greens (p. 283) are a simple example of a perfect salad (in my opinion). Fresh greens, protein, fats and carbohydrates all combine to create a flavourful meal packed with nutrition.

But I eat a whole lot more than just salads…

I am working on a big project at work that has me at all-day off-site meetings. The organizer has been wonderful about ordering me separate vegan fare, which I graciously thank him for at every chance I get. I think demonstrating gratitude at every possible opportunity is really important – especially when you’re the token representative of a minority group (the strange vegan in this case). My lunch order has consisted of a large salad.

Unfortunately, the caterer has interpreted this as a bowl of ice berg lettuce and an albino tomato. Okay, that’s not what I would call a salad but I will eat it because it was specially prepared to meet my request. 

On the first day, when someone commented, “wow, I could never be vegan and live on salad”, I took the opportunity to talk about all the variety available in the vegan diet. I reinforced the message by saying “I don’t mind eating this salad for lunch because I eat a lot of amazing food the rest of the time so this isn’t really a big deal”. We talked about how easy it is to be vegan and still enjoy Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Italian and Chinese cuisine. I enthusiastically described some of the best vegan restaurants in the city and my weekend plans for preparing some awesome eats.

To me it was a passing discussion about salad, but today I realized the real impact of my words. 

We reconvened after a weekend apart and over another unimpressive lunch many of the members shared how our discussion had been in their thoughts. One colleague had picked up The Kind Diet on the weekend and had been thinking about making a shift toward veganism. Another mentioned that they had been discussing veganism with friends over the weekend and had shared what a diverse diet it could be. The organizer described discovering a new vegetarian restaurant in town and how impressed he had been by the menu. 

Truthfully, I was pretty awestruck by the experience. I was amazed that our brief conversation could have had such an effect on people who I had known for just a few days. I guess you never know how your words or actions may touch someone else’s life.

With this experience in mind I wanted to share the opportunity for you to select a recipe from Becoming Raw that is “so much more than salad”. Would you like to see the recipe for:

Celeriac Linguine with Bolognese Sauce;
Thai Spring Rolls with Spicy Pecan Sauce; or
Pesto and Sundried Tomato Pizza with Veggies?

What do you make for guests to showcase the diversity of vegan cuisine?

Have you ever unknowningly impacted the dietary choices of friends, family or acquaintances – only to find out later?

Are you a salad fiend? Do you have a salad recipe that pleases omnivores and herbivores alike?

Training Update:
After a long walk I lay on my couch for the most of the evening. It was a much needed recovery night.


  1. Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I love salads!! All types…more greens the better though ; )

    I vote Thai Spring rolls!
    Pure2raw twins

  2. Posted April 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    That's so heartening! And it's true; you never know how something you say in passing might really resonate with a listener. 🙂

    As for the recipes, I'm all for the Thai Spring Rolls!

  3. Posted April 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    What a great story! Your heartfelt sincerity and enthusiasm is what made that impression. And the truth is, people really want to be healthy and feel good about what they eat. Sometimes they are just lacking in information, and you happily provided that.

    My experience growing up was much different from yours. I don't think I routinely touched salads till I was about 25. I do enjoy them now, and I just had a green salad with strawberries a day or so ago. (Strawberries are a big crop here in Louisiana, and the season is peaking now :).

    This May 15th, the second annual NOLA Veggie Fest will be held in New Orleans. Apparently it was started by a woman who moved to New Orleans from Seattle; a vegan looking for community. This is quite an amazing thing. Last year I didn't know about it, but they had 550 people show, even though they were outside and it poured rain all day. They have moved it to a new venue with some inside space for this years' event. I also found out that the guy who runs Vegan Radio moved to New Orleans a few months ago (he's living with a raw foodist, he says). His most recent podcast focused on the upcoming Veggie Fest. I live in Baton Rouge, the capitol city, and I can tell you there is not a single vegetarian restaurant in this entire city, to say nothing of vegan or raw. We do have a very small place that opened serving gluten, dairy and egg free (but they still serve meat). They do have vegan offerings though, which is like a miracle in this town. Anyway, I definitely hope to make it to the Veggie Fest, and hope you will send some positive thoughts our way for continued growth of this way of life in a most unsupportive atmosphere. Thanks, Lisa.

  4. Posted April 21, 2010 at 12:57 am

    I love green salads especially

    I vote Thai Spring Rolls please

  5. Posted April 21, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I also vote for the thai spring rolls!

    For guests I like to showcase really great desserts. Most people who eat meat and dairy have at least dined on vegetarian meals before, with or without noticing it, and have an easier time envisioning main courses. I.E. They will have likely experienced a really delicious pasta, or gone out to some great thai or indian restaurants and had stir fries or curries.

    But, I think a lot of people have absolutely no idea that you can be vegan and eat literally the exact same desserts as non-vegans, like cinnamon buns, cupcakes, mousses and ice creams. So I like to make really great desserts that really surprise people.

    A favourite salad that I like to serve is my mom's mandarin orange salad. It has a very sweet dressing, and a great mix of textures and different things in it – mandarin oranges of course, as well as sliced almonds, mushrooms and bean sprouts.

    In general, I really like having fruit of any kind in a salad!

  6. Posted April 21, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Oops, with all my writing in last comment, forgot to vote. Thai Spring Rolls sound good to me.

    AND, double oops, in case anyone is close enough to Louisiana to want to come to NOLA Veggie Fest, the date is Sunday May 16th (not the 15th), from 11am till 7pm.

  7. Posted April 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Lisa
    I vote for spring rolls. I seem to have lots of company.

    Maybe you should have a 1-pager with a list of ingredients that you would like – it might be worth a shot.

  8. Posted April 21, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Another one for Thai Spring Rolls! 🙂

    Lisa, you are one of my favorite veggie spokespeople; always thoughtful and a wonderful steward of our little population – you make it feel so much larger and more achievable. Thank you for being you!

  9. Posted April 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    You never know what seeds you might plant, and your enthusiastic personality was no doubt the sun that made ideas sprout in people's minds. Kudos to you!

    I vote for spring rolls or pizza, they both sound good!

  10. Posted April 21, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks for all your comments. The Thai Spring rolls are coming…

    Mindy, I always listen to Vegan Radio so I've heard a lot about the event. I wish I could attend – I will be sending lots of positive thoughts to you and the veg community in NOLA.

    Barbi, your mandarine salad sounds delicious. I know your vegan cookies always impress the masses!

    Thank you for stopping by and sharing your advice. I don't think this group is ready for me to hand over a list of ingredients but just two more days to go and I'll be back to my regular lunches.

    Your note was so touching. Thank you. I was actually on your blog when you commented on mine. I was sitting in awe of your photos. I'm so glad the internets brought your blog and your perspective into my life.

    It is so true, we just never know how we touch the lives of others. P.S. I hope you found some fantastic shoes.

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